But the situation worsened this week and authorities began dispatching aircraft and spraying machines filled with pesticides mounted on vehicles to eliminate the insects, which are roughly the length of a finger and fly together by the millions.
Farmers could be seen wading through clouds of the insects as some tried to kill them with sticks.
Chaudhry Asghar, an agriculture officer in the Punjab provincial capital of Multan, said millions of desert locusts had already damaged orchards, crops and vegetables.
“We have intensified efforts to save our crops from any further invasion of locusts,” Syed Fahar Imam, national food security minister, said today. He said the government will buy five more aircraft for spraying crops.
The insects have wreaked havoc on swathes of farmland in eastern Punjab, southern Sindh and southwestern Baluchistan province. They also attacked crops in the northwest bordering Afghanistan.
The locusts have also brought agricultural destruction to neighbouring India, where critics pointed the finger at Pakistan as a new breeding ground for the desert locusts.
Pakistani officials said no country should blame another for the situation, but all affected countries need to make collective efforts to prevent a possible food crisis in the region.
Farmers say while crops of rabi, a type of grain, were sown in winter and harvested in the spring, locusts are damaging cotton and vegetable crops sown in April.
The National Disaster Management Authority said resources were being mobilised and operations were underway to curb the locust invasion.
In a statement, it said 1150 teams of experts have expanded operations by spraying swarms of desert locusts in 61 districts across the country.
Arrangements were also being made to combat another possible attack of desert locusts expected in July and August.